Hello, so its reached that time where a group of nerds go over the previous cycles card releases.
Firstly, I suppose I should say being the latest newbie to these reports, I am David “Daisy” Guest. I am the scrub who is (nearly) always playing Greyjoy. and most of the UK Meta will agree when I say they find it a shock if I play anything else. Good stuff, jank, and the weirdest of combinations, its all the love for the blue cards from me. So I suspect it’s the only reason I was asked to do this as I have actually used each and every card regardless.
At the end of Cycle 3 we had just started to see the general strength of Greyjoy and its build start to lose its way in the Meta. After a very heavily Greyjoy led regionals season in the UK and solidly represented across the world with the Greyjoy Rains of Castamere decks leading the way with a number of wins under their belt. However, the general variation of Greyjoy decks didn’t really seem to exist and started to feel quite stale. Unopposed rush was dead, Drowned God and Pillage didn’t have the legs or quite enough to push them into more than a casual fun deck. Bring on Cycle 4 for some new toys!!
Now I premise the order of this list on the basis that bar a couple of unexciting but useful pieces Greyjoy saw some great cards this cycle so although cards may be “lower” on the list a number of these cards are above the curve.
Drowned Gods Apostle
Personally one of my least favourite cards to come in the last cycle and box…. Clearly it was there to start the ball rolling for the Drowned God deck. And as an additional dominance phase trigger with Core Damphair, it’s heading down the right route. I find in a DG deck I trigger these rarely however unless I have Damphair to return him as well, because it feels like a big tempo hit and isn’t overly easy to get back without Core Aeron. Dull, but effective on a set board is about the best I can say…more than 1 icon though eh?!?
Support of Harlaw
I am sad quite how far down my list this card comes. Overall, it’s a great benefit to any number of decks at first glance. Giving Keywords such as Stealth and Renown relatively easily and for a reasonable cost seems good. Being non-loyal this opens up a number of Banner decks and being a Greyjoy attachment that isn’t limited to Ironborn makes it so versatile compared to others.
But, and it’s a large but, you need to kneel a warship. That’s not so bad until you look at the warships. The most commonly played warships require a kneel to use for their own ability. If for ease of argument we take these out of the equation (assuming their own ability is why they are in the deck) this leaves you with the families named warships. Great Kraken sees the most play and is a boon to the card, Sea Bitch a close second as a common addition but as it gets sacrificed it weakens Support of Harlaw. The other 2 ships, Black Wind and Iron Victory, are great targets but see much less play.
This is generally rated lower for me, as it’s a theme that doesn’t sit overly well within Greyjoy (yet), is of a small impact in a game on its own, and once you have used the reaction the body is underwhelming as another low cost mediocre strength monocon in a faction rampant with them.
Having seen this card used to great effect in a Martell banner of the Kraken deck, going first and recurring the reaver to hand with Orphan of the Greenblood to leave your opponent with no hand prior to marshalling, it’s not relegated to my worst card in the cycle. Overall though, its limited impact means I will choose any number of other cards in most Greyjoy decks. Not a fan.
Well, this card upon release was broken. So broken it currently holds the record for the fastest Errata (Joint with To Go Forward You Must Go Back); clearly an error of Rules as Written over Rules as Intended.
Now that it has had its errata, it is by far more sensible yet still useful. Nothing to get excited about. It will be a nice addition to the Drowned God decks but I can see this being a 1 or 2 times card rather than the 3 it was on release. It has been in my own games a nice deterrent for military challenges towards the end of a game often when my deck is starting to struggle with its board presence but close to closing the power total.
Acolyte of the Waves
At the time of its release this came across as a little underwhelming. It was a nice comfortable choice for claim soak in decks that are often so top heavy in their cost curve. The benefit of gaining a power when the cheap throwaway body dies what better right? Well it turns out it got better throughout the cycle with the introduction of things like the Driftwood Cudgel turning that one-character death into 2 power. And Tarle the thrice drowned, not only did it die but you could then re-marshal it from your dead pile just to repeat the cycle all over again. Obviously as static power gain it raises the usual voices of concern however with a deck that sacrifices board presence to gain a chunk of its power I think this isn’t too bad as far as static power gain goes.
Now this card really gave Pillage a more reliable way to win and more themes means a varied meta right? I had to run a pillage deck week 1 of this coming out. And boy I had so much fun, however with a location heavy Meta location hate appearing in a large number of decks this card can be hit by all of it. The pillage theme is also lacking a vital item…the ability for larger numbers of cards to be pillaged semi reliably meaning this card can be very hit and miss.
Regardless, I love this card it pushed a floundering theme to a playable level.
Now my meta and a number of other UK players hate my love for this card. Admittedly it’s not the strongest card or deck theme in the world. But can create some highly entertaining moments in a game and we play this game because it’s fun right?
This card earns some points for 1, creating another archetype and 2 pulling out cards such as Helya & Alannys from the binder.
Paired with cards like Aeron retuning dead iron born characters, Iron throne to help you trigger both this and Aeron and any number of unique Greyjoy characters this can easily bag you 5-8 power in one shot plus the dominance win. At the point of release this power ideally sat on Victarion gaining saves by doing so but Breaking Ties obviously amends this slightly.
On a personal note… there’s nothing more satisfying than using your opponent’s Annals of Castle Black to play this from the discard to win!
She is good but not insane, and with the amount of jump in effects such as Flea Bottom, ambush and other native stealth, she is limited in her impact. She has however seen a lot of play in melee in the Stark banner of the Kraken Fat Cat deck. She has made for some fun cards leaving their binder with Favours for the Crown and Unbridled Generosity accompanying her.
Sadly, her strength relegates her a few places in the list as Blood of the Dragon and even things as simple as claim means they leave the board relatively quickly.
Given to the Drowned God
As with a few cards we have had as a faction in this cycle, we are seeing more draw and this is not a bad thing. I think this is a fairly well-balanced draw. You are sacrificing board state to change your fortunes, this can turn out to be a risky play in a deck that sacrifices its board state so much. Being linked to the cost increases that risk reward feeling of the card. Take a bigger risk getting rid of your 4 cost Drowned Men bigger reward with 4 cards. Simple premise, nicely designed, generally restricted to one build to be reliable.
This card has saved me in games yet also been such a risk to my board state it was in no way viable to play it. These few instances drop it further down my list but ultimately are what make it a fair and balanced draw mechanic.
This was a great addition and a real kick start to a theme a lot of Greyjoy players had been waiting for. This began to allow you to feed your dead pile through other routes; intrigue claim, pillage, and discarding to reserve all became viable ways to feed the dead pile without your opponent doing military challenges. This also then helps you win dominance and allowing your dominance triggers with Core Aeron & the Apostle allowing to then recur those characters you had thrown into your dead pile with such ease. In several games this locked out a Baratheon player with their dominance deck with no hope of challenging me for dominance.
This is the fourth named warship directly linked to one of the main family members, and the third to directly interact with its captain. Of the three to interact, I would personally put it just behind the Great Kraken, but higher ranked than the Iron Victory. The combination of power gain and potential draw is what rates this card for me, it does drop however due to the draw relying heavily on you running pillage and your opponent’s deck having several locations and attachments. Cards that rely on your opponent’s deck to be built in a specific way generally rate a little lower in my mind. What I really like is its appeal to be used with both versions of Asha yet not be overly stronger with 1 more than the other. Overall this card often finds space in most decks as a 1 of provided I am running either Asha.
Tarle the Thrice Drowned
Tarle, what else to say. This card makes Drowned God, full stop. The deck requires the ability to recur its 2 and 3 cost characters from the dead pile with ease and with all but a few central pieces being non-unique this is the perfect card. The fact it is part of marshalling and not a reaction both makes it effective and useful but also keeps the card relatively balanced as this requires you to manage your economy well and choose carefully what you pay for.
Sadly it leaves the theme with an issue icons wise only having Intrigue and power or power monocon characters bar one. I am glad that with Breaking Ties in the meta that this card is loyal it makes him keep a solid place in the order of this list.
Tris is one of my favourite cards in the cycle. He started to give Greyjoy some answers to a faction it truly struggled with; Targaryen. In addition to being highly flexible in any match up and a monster in the mirror match. With his ability able to be triggered in any action window allows for a lot of freedom in what you remove and how you can time it to protect yourself at just the right moment. Target number one is often the burn cards such as Dracarys and Consuming Flames. This often makes him become a target for Crown of Gold, a small price to pay. He really loves Iron Mines and Risen from the Sea in the mirror. Opening your opponent to an aggressive Valar Morghulis. The fact he can target any type of card makes him so flexible he has become a staple in the majority of my Greyjoy builds. I think his low strength and being a power monocon is a fair price to pay.
Just wow, I don’t think anyone is shocked to see this lady at the top of this list! I love this card so much. She offers everything. For 7 cost a 5 strength tricon with stealth and pillage isn’t the worst card in the world if a little underpowered. The ability on top makes her an invaluable addition to a faction that struggles for reliable draw/tutor effects.
At a first glance her draw can seem underwhelming outside of a dedicated pillage deck. But in actual fact even with just her on the board this can pick up to be a valuable number of cards per turn. If Asha alone does an intrigue challenge that’s 2 cards per turn added to your search effect, not taking into account events, reserve and other reasons for cards to be added to the discard. The flexibility of her tutor and the fact the card is not revealed, reducing your opponent’s hand knowledge makes this very strong compared to other tutor effects.
Overall, I think Greyjoy did okay as a faction out of the cycle. Strong cards like Tris and Asha allowing them to try and keep a place in the competitive meta. Plus, cards adding to themes making them playable if not “Tier 1”, Nagga’s Ribs & the Acolytes strengthening the theme and Tarle making it truly playable.
Corpse lake giving pillage decks an achievable win condition. And my absolute favourite of Kingsmoot bringing in an alternative route to the win condition for those who want to play with characters that have actual names.
What I’m hoping most to see in the next cycle is some cards to help cement the weaker themes and to continue to allow some experimentation in the Greyjoy decks. Lets hope for some unopposed tech to help that core box theme….